Brotherly Love – Rediscovering ‘Summerfield’ (Australia 1977 – 95 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 26, 2015

A haunting tale of family secrets, the criminally neglected Australian picture ‘Summerfield’ was unfairly slated by critics at the time, but has quite rightly acquired a loyal following in the intervening years. Although it’s rather slow moving at times, I think it’s a stunning looking movie with a central mystery that maybe isn’t a mystery after all.

A new teacher; Simon Robinson (Nick Tate); arrives at the quiet seaside town of Bannings Beach to take over from the previous teacher who has mysteriously vanished without much concern from the authorities. One of the pupils, Sally Abbott (Michelle Jarman) befriends Simon and …

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Dancing Dames & Slapstick Showgirls – Remembering Joan Shawlee (1926 – 1987)

Remember ‐ March 24, 2015

Bubbly, funny and extroverted, Joan Shawlee was a versatile actress and comedienne, who went from being a nightclub singer to excelling in memorable character parts.

Born in New York on March 5th, 1926, Joan began modelling in her teens and would later have a spell singing in New York nightclubs. Moving into film and billed as Joan Fulton, she had notable appearances in several pictures including ‘House of Murder’ (’45), a cult thriller famous for the casting of Rondo Hatton as ‘The Creeper’. Joan looked sexy sashaying around and before long Lou Costello had spotted her and she got her big …

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Letting the Chips Fall – Rediscovering ‘Croupier’ (UK 1998 – 94 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 19, 2015

Ever since I first saw ‘The Sting’ (’73) as a child I’ve always loved gambling related movies, especially if they have a clever twist in them. A couple of favourites are the western-themed ‘A Big Hand for the Little Lady’ and Jack Smight’s under-rated ‘Kaleidoscope’ (both ’66). A more recent favourite is Mike Hodges excellent ‘Croupier’, which I think is one of the best and most under-rated British movies of the 1990’s.

After would-be writer Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) takes a job as a croupier, he finds the work is soon taking over his life, causing his relationship with girlfriend Marion …

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Going for Gold – Rediscovering ‘Personal Best’ (US 1982 – 124 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 16, 2015

Although the United States ultimately boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games for political reasons, the lovingly shot movie ‘Personal Best’ focuses on a group of US competitors as they vie for a place on the track-and-field team for the Games. A gripping and effective backstage sports drama, it deftly chronicles the personal and professional achievements of a group of aspiring American hopefuls.

After unsuccessfully competing in the 1976 Olympic trials, promising Pentathlete Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) meets Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly), an experienced track and field competitor. Forming a close bond, their friendship soon develops into a romantic relationship, which upsets …

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Bathtub Blues – Rediscovering ‘The Changeling’ (Canada/US 1980 – 107 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 12, 2015

Gory movies have never really bothered me. I can watch films where zombies are tearing off limbs and ones with cannibals enjoying desert. But if there’s one movie that I still have trouble watching on my own it’s the outstanding ghost flick ‘The Changeling’. There’s something about an old dark house with a mysterious past that sucks me right in to the often compelling storyline. Both this movie and the superior 1989 television production of ‘The Woman in Black’ are two of the best of its type.

After his wife and daughter are tragically killed in a horrific road accident, composer …

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California Dreaming – Rediscovering ‘Double Exposure’ (US 1983 – 95 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 09, 2015

A grimy little exploitation piece with respectable actors, ‘Double Exposure’ is a pretty good erotic thriller that doesn’t skimp on the red stuff. Also, the story itself couldn’t be simpler.

A serial killer is gruesomely butchering women in and around Los Angeles. After experiencing dreams where his models are murdered, freelance photographer Adrian Wilde (Michael Callan) finds himself the chief suspect when a number of the victims turn out to be his models.

‘Double Exposure’ is fairly well shot and moves along briskly enough to hold your interest. The misogyny and slasher elements were never going to win it critical acclaim, but …

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Burlesque, B-movies and Bubbly Bimbo’s – Remembering Angelique Pettyjohn (1943 – 1992)

Remember ‐ March 05, 2015

Voluptuous and vivacious with energy to spare, the appealing Angelique Pettyjohn cropped up in a host of cult movies and exploitation obscurities in a sporadic career which took in various highs and lows. Along the rocky road of show business she overcame a number of personal demons and, true to her nature, remained largely optimistic.

Born Dorothy Lee Perrins in Los Angeles, on March 11th 1943, Angelique started out modelling in her teens before deciding to study acting. In 1967 she was given minor spots on ‘Batman’ and ‘Get Smart’ before receiving bimbo roles in movies including ‘The Guide for the …

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A Star is Torn – Rediscovering ‘The Hard Way’ (US 1943 – 109 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 02, 2015

A well- made melodrama from Warner Bros. about the downside of tinsel-town, ‘The Hard Way’ is an enjoyable showbiz sleeper and one that holds up extremely well after all these years.

Helen Chernen (Ida Lupino) is fed up with living in poverty in the coal-mining town of Greenhill. Left to look after her younger sister Katie (Joan Leslie) when their mother dies, Helen is determined to push Katie into the showbiz world after the sisters are introduced to song-and-dance pair; Paul (Dennis Morgan) and Albert (Jack Carson). Paul and Katie soon marry while Helen leaves her hubby to join them on …

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Teenage Wasteland – Rediscovering ‘Foxes’ (US 1980 – 106 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 26, 2015

A first-rate drama that’s both well acted and memorable, ‘Foxes’ holds a special place in the heart for many of those who saw it growing up. It wasn’t your typical high-school drama, and was not afraid to realistically deal with topics including drug addiction and unwanted pregnancy, while also throwing in some teenage tragedy.

The story centers on a group of four teenage girls and their problems, in the Hollywood Boulevard area of Los Angeles during the late 1970s. The sensible and caring Jeanie (Jodie Foster) is the glue that binds the group together, while the unpredictable Annie (Cherie Currie) is …

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Walls Have Ears – Rediscovering ‘The Psychic’ / ‘Sette note in Nero’ (Italy 1977 – 95 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 23, 2015

One of Lucio Fulci’s lesser talked about movies, ‘The Psychic’ came just before his zombie trilogy which began with 1979’s ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’, followed by ‘City of the Living Dead’ (’80), and ending with my personal favourite ‘The Beyond’ (’81). A dark and sometimes disturbing thriller, I think ‘The Psychic’ is one of his best movies and has a much wider appeal than perhaps his more well-known splatter pictures.

When Virginia (Jennifer O’Neill) starts experiencing psychic visions, she stumbles upon a murder which sees her wealthy husband Francesco (Gianni Garko) implicated in the killing. With the help of her psychic researcher …

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